Yesterday, the Wyre Foresters and I had the pleasure of presenting Horka 1708 at the Joy of Six. We have discussed the background to the battle before and I have attached a handout that contains some background on the idea of the battle, the rules we used (Twilight of the Sun King) as well as an list of the forces used on the day:
It could be useful to read this one before pushing on.
Following a nice family Saturday in the Derbyshire Dales, visiting the impressive Crich Memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the nearby Tramway village, we went to Sheffield and attended the famous BBKBCE – Baccus Balti King Beer and Curry Evening. This is a chance to meet some old a new friends on the eve of the many battles being fought at the Joy of Six.
The Doors at the Joy of Six opened at 10am, but by this time I had been trying to set up the table since 8.30am. It took me a few minutes more – I always mess up some of the regiments in terms of placement and being pedantic with regards to these things knock-on effects on the schedule are inevitable. The mat worked reasonably well, but I had some issues with the sides and I may want to use some duct tape when I roll it out again. I am still in two minds on how I will do the Poltava battlefield next year as it has some interesting elevation – perhaps reverting back to boards or a mix of elevation pieces and a mat – I have a few more months to worry about that.
Having put it all on and taking a step back I have to admit that I said a little “wow”, and reflected on the fact that this is why I do this. Not to stare at an individual miniature being nicely painted (because that is not really my forte, but I do like nicely painted larger scale stuff), but to stare at something that resembles a battle when you take a step back – a battle from one of those many pictures the old man used to show me when I was a little boy and an aspiring General.
Admittedly not your average evening game weighing in at 12 by 5 feet, more than 3,700 miniatures on more than 270 bases – but at Joy of Six – why not! Here is Horka 1708. I dedicate this game to my Dad, who I hope is feasting in Valhalla!
The squares (65mm) are “Command Cards” – 5 for the Swedes and 10 for the Russians. I printed these on sticky labels and put them on MDF bases. It adds a little bit of flair to the game – I think – and also indicates the rating of the Commander. From Poor (+0) to Exceptional (+3).
The actual battle worked out great for the Swedes. The Russian left cavalry flank collapsed under the pressure of Major-General Creutz relentless cavalry attack on the other side of the river, combined with the strong push of the centre. The Tsar himself died heroically in the Battle. Surprising Field Marshall Rehnskiöld with the finest of the cavalry regiments was struggling on the Russian right. It was a decisive Swedish victory. In a re-fight setting we would probably consider making the Russian position stronger with defences and perhaps treat the waterway as more treacherous. So the next refight may be more desperate for the Swedes than this first go indicated.
However, for now, the Swedes won at Horka in 1708.
I will do a general update about the show itself later this week – but I actually did not have time to do very much. It is how it works out when you have table to attend to. There are however some things I need to mention, a few shout outs to people, the seminar I attended and a few of the tables that caught my eye (and I actually took some photos but only a few) but that is for another time.
/ Hope that was of some interest, a few more pictures of the battle.
Many thanks for passing-by, next year we are doing Poltava 1709.
I had a very nice day at Salute yesterday, but have decided to reflect on that next week as I think his blog post is long enough – but in summary of Salute I can say “a lot of people, met some new and old friends, the games looked great, got some gifts(!), picked up some stuff and bought some more, What a Tanker from Too Fat Lardies looked fun, a fantastic GNW battle from Michael Leck – from my perspective the Show rolled a Six.” More next week on this and some further on the progress on the Horka Project.
back to the main theme….
I decided to start this blog on the back of doing a participation game of Saga in 6mm with the gentlemen from the eminent Meeples and Miniatures podcast (link here) for the Joy of Six in 2016. The demo game was Saga in 6mm and I went all out and did starter armies (4pts) for the 12 factions from the three first books for the Age of Viking era (a total of 15 official Age of Vikings factions were produced for the first edition rules, if we exclude semi-official ones like the Skraelings, Revenant and Steppe Tribes).
This is the 100th blog update since the start and I felt it appropriate to do an update on Saga on the back of the Second edition being published earlier this year. It is a long one but I do hope you will find it of some interest.
For this special occasion I asked Neil Shuck for a few words as a kind of preface (thank you Neil).
“When I had a conversation with Dave Luff on the podcast about the possibility of gaming Saga in 6mm, we had no idea of the forces we were about to unleash.
Dave was on one of his ‘it’s only a counter’ monologues, and with the fact that that very nice Mr Berry had just brought out some more of his Dark Age range, we were discussing the idea of being able to play Saga in a smaller scale, and what impact that might have on the game. As with many of our ideas, it never got close to the painting table, so imagine our surprise when Per contacted us to say that he had taken our idea and moved it to the next level.
We may have planted the seed, but Per is a force of nature when an idea takes hold, and the rest is, as they say, history. Per did a fantastic job creating all the forces, plus building the tables, and the games were very well received on the day. More importantly, the game still works – if anything, the grander scale created by the smaller models gives it a more epic feel. Congratulations Per, you have done a fantastic job with this.”
– Neil Shuck, from the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast (link here).
Here is a link to that very first blog post with a postscript that makes a few notes and links to the other relevant posts. Note that the Factions are presented again in the text that follows, I will not repeat the information in the Part 6 to 8 sections about terrain, buildings and painting.
We had a blast on the day of the Joy of Six 2016 Show and Neil wrote about his experience on the Meeples and Miniatures webpage here and my report on the Roll a One blog is here.
It was a nice project to get done and all-in-all I did 2,474 miniatures in a total on 324 bases (25mm square). Each base contained between 3 to 10 miniatures depending on type, but in general:
Mounted – Warlord 5, Hearthguard 4, Warrior 3
Foot – Warlord 10, Hearthguard 9, Warrior 8, Levy 4
After the show the Little One and I played a fair few games of Saga and we really enjoyed it. We then drifted away to other things and the models have been left standing relatively still for a while (apart from a few sessions using the eminent Dux Brit rules from Too Fat Lardies, a test of the Sword and Spear Rules and a few games of Saga here and there). In the beginning of the year (2018) Studio Tomahawk released the updated edition of Saga (I will call is Saga 2) – where there is a core set of rules and then a book for each era (e.g. Viking, Arthurian, Crusade, etc.). I was debating on whether to get the new rules or not as we found the old ones more than satisfactory, but as I stated in an earlier blogpost.
I have all the old Saga books and I am aware this version will probably not blow me away in the same way as the first set, but it is on the basis of that very first set I bought the second edition. Saga is a fantastic game and I, and especially the Little One, want to be part of the ongoing process of making it even better.
I got the basic rule book for £8.50 (this contains the basic rules) and the Age of Vikings (this has the Viking factions and 12 battle boards) supplement for £25.50, which I believe is very competitive, from Dark Sphere (link here) with free postage (as at 14/03/18). That is a total of £34.
The original Saga Rules were typically sold for £25 and gave you 4 battle boards, three additional supplements (actually four if you count the campaign supplement) were produced cover the Viking Age at a typical total cost of say £42. This gives a total comparative cost at £67 vs. £34. So this new packaging is more cost effective, although the start-up cost is higher (£34 vs £25) as you need some battle boards to play the game.
The only thing that slightly irritated me is that there is only one base scenario in the basic rules – Clash of the Warlords, and that there are no specific scenarios in the source books either – instead there will be a specific scenario book. I really hope that this scenario book is something really special as I honestly think that some more scenarios could have been included in the basic rulebook or in the supplement(s) – so the comparison above is not fully a like for like.
On the back of having read the rulebook and the Age of Viking supplement and had a few games, I personally think it was worth the upgrade. I can use all of my existing models to play and the Saga Dice are the same (I have two sets of each type of dice as I used them for demo gaming and that allowed a higher number of combinations to be played over two tables at the same time) with one exception (the Last Romans, see below).
On the other if you have the old rules I am not sure I would be a position to strongly insist you should do or feel the same. It is still Saga after all. However, I do hope that more supplements covering other Ages will be developed and made available on the back of this re-release. The pictures of some Samurai warriors in the rulebook gives an interesting hint.
This blogpost will re-introduce the factions presented in those old blog posts, with what I hope are better pictures. In addition there are some changes to the composition and I have now enough figures to do starting warbands for the 10 of the 12 included in the Age of Vikings supplement. I will further include some notes on changes to the rules (that only makes sense if you know the first edition) and finally show a few pictures of from some of the games we have played over the Easter Period with some friends and family. I hope it is of some interest – it was nice to get them on the table again.
Factions (4 pt Starter Armies)
Anyway let us look at some of the miniatures (again!, note I do not have miniatures for two of the factions but are repeating the advice I gave in Saga in 6mm – Part 12). All models, with the exception of the Irish Dogs, are from Baccus 6mm (link here) and the codes are from their catalogue to indicate what miniatures have been used. The original picture showing the whole 4pt warband have been reused here, but I have also included close ups of each unit. I am in two minds about this as I think 6mm is best shown in mass not as individual close ups (well I let you form your own opinion). When you paint bulk and fast like I do for my projects it does not always look that great in a close up – but then why not. All are on 25mm square bases, you may want to refer to that as an inch at your own peril of being 0.4mm out!
A few changes are noted in the text basically:
Reduction of a Battle Board (-3)
The Welsh and Stratchclyde Welsh now share a Battleboard
The Normans and Bretons now share a Battleboard
Their is no longer a Pagan Prince board, but I assume this one is now assumed included in the Pagan Rus board (as one of their heroic options are a Pagan Prince)
Renaming of Battle Board (+/-0)
The Frankish board is now renamed the Carolignian board
The Byzantine battleboard is now renamed the Last Romans (and actually needs a set of dice I do not have (yet!) – the Roman/Briton dice that were introduced with the Saga Aetius and Arthur rules.
Anyway here are the Warbands:
Irish Starting Warband
Welsh Starting Warbands
I have two Welsh starting warbands as there were two separate boards in the first edition – one for Welsh and one for the Mounted Strathclyde Welsh.
Scots Starting Warband
Viking Starting Warband
Norman / Breton Starting Warband
As for the Welsh this is now one Battleboards for what used to be two – the Normans and the Bretons. The difference is that the mounted Hearthguards have Javelins.
Anglo-Danes Starting Warband
Anglo-Saxon Starting Warband
Carolignians / Franks Starting Warband
Norse-Gael Starting Warband
Jomsvikings Starting Warband
The Last Romans (Byzantines)
Did not make this faction, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).
Starting Army: Mounted Warlord (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard (CIS01 – Seljuq Turk Heavy Cavalry), Mounted Hearthguard with Bow (ASS02- Armoured Horse Archers), Warriors (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen), Warriors with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).
Did not make this faction either, but here are my ideas (I have the miniatures and just need to get them done).
Starting army: Warlord (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), 2 No. Hearthguard (EMV01 -Armoured Spearmen), Warrior (EMV01 – Armoured Spearmen) and Levy with Javelins (ALR04 – Lanciarii)
Starting Army (Rus Princes based): Mounted Warlord (CFR04 – Turcopoles), 2 No. Mounted Hearthguard (CFR04 – Turcopoles), Warrior (EMV02 – Unarmoured Spearmen) and Warrior with Bow (ALR05 – Archer).
Playing the Game
Changes to the 2nd Edition Rules
You may want to skip this sections if you have no interest in what the changes are between the two versions, as this only makes some sense if you are familiar with the rules.
When reading the two rules again side by side (pun not intended) a few changes can be noted between the versions. In addition to what I will cover here the battleboards have changed but I have not yet analysed them and probably will not. I have played most of the old battle boards at least once but would felt it a step too far for the purpose of this. Doing this review/rough notes took me longer than I wanted it to take, I do not pretend I believe it is complete and may have missed or misunderstood something:
The Warlord model (base in our case) can no longer use the side by side ability
Resilience ability now allows 1 fatigue to be taken instead of 1 hit up to its limit (see below – but to lower your suspense it is now 3 fatigue markers for all units).
Only a Hearthguard model/base (within (S)hort distance) can be used to sacrifice/taking damage on behalf of the Warlord.
We obey ability now allows free activation of any action – not just movement.
The Warlord now has 8 attack dice (previous he had 5) and only generate one Saga Dice (previously it generated 2 dice)
Heroic units gets the warlord abilities as well.
Levies now generate Saga Dice if the unit has 6 or more figures – previously they did not generate any at all.
Warriors generate Saga Dice if the unit has 4 or more figures – this avoids the 1 man warrior unit being withdrawn to generate Saga dide.
The Saga Dices left on the battleboard from a previous round does not affect how many you roll in your next turn (unless the total of dice on the board + allowed Saga dice from units is higher than 8. As 8 Saga Dice is still the maximum in play at any given time).
In combat you can use 2 fatigue to cancel an enemy activation
You can spend 1 fatigue to reduce the movement of an unit activating to S(hort)
In shooting you can spend more than 1 fatigue to decrease the defending units armour, and in melee the same and also for increasing the attackers armour.
All units are now exhausted when it has 3 fatigue markers allocated to it (3 is the maximum accumulation allowed), this gives -1 to all attack dice.
All units in a group fight if they are engaged with another unit.
Movement is done in straight line (including charges/attacks)
Models (bases in this case) in a unit to stay within S(hort) from the first unit being moved – this technically means that levies at 12 models cannot create a long line. For our purposes not a big problem, we tend to play the units as 2 deep by 6 frontage (levies), 2 by 4 warriors and 1 by 4 for hearthguards. This to simulate some kind of depth in shield wall concept typical for the “Age”.
Movement is free (cost no Saga dice) if you are at L(ong) range away from any enemy and movement ends up L(ong) range from any enemy.
Shooting – combat pool maximum at Step 1 at 8 dice, final maximum at Step 3 16 dice. There is no limit on the number of defence dice that can be applied (previously twice the number of hit was the maximum).
Meele – a unit can only be engaged with one enemy units. There is no longer a step 0 (the reaction abilities are no longer being used). Maximum combat pool is now 16 at Stage 1 and double at Stage 3. As for missile there is no limit for the number of defence die than can be applied. Defending unit may choose to Close Ranks and gain the effect of solid cover but only gets half of its normal number of attack dice (The old rule of sacrificing attack dice to get defence dice is no longer used). Note this rule is not available to mounted, bow/crossbow armed units and heavy weapons (e.g. dane axes). So perhaps a better name for the ability would be to “Form Shieldwall!”. Defenders in solid cover never withdraw if they outnumber the attacking unit, other units may end up less than VS if there are terrain restrictions.
If all the figures are in cover, the cover counts – if not it does not count.
Dangerous terrain introduced – works like uneven terrain but also causes 1 fatigue to the unit.
Changes to the dimension of the sizes of terrain – I let you go a figure this one, I do not tend to care about these things – sorry!. It is getting late.
Equipment /Weapons – clarification of modifications and restriction, changes to rules for composite bows (free activation and no fatigue), crossbow (+1 to attack instead of -1 to Armour, and can only shot once per turn), javelin (+1 melee attack dice when charging, an example of this is the classic roman infantry attack I suppose), there is a new improvised weapon category.
Playing it over Easter
We decided to play a few games over the Easter Period and we only used starter warbands and I used my 2 by 2 terrain tile (famous from sessions of Pikemans Lament last year) as this one can easily be accommodated in a house full to the brim of family and friends. As we had mixed familiarity of the rules this was sufficient to get a few games played, starting within direct engagement distance.
We play the rules exactly as written, one a base is the same as a base in the 28mm version, no adjustments for ranges of missile weapons or movement.
Here are a few pictures from these games, the games flowed nicely and went really well.
Conclusion: Saga is still fun and works really well in 6mm whether you have the old or the new set of rules. In its base it is a simple I go you go – you roll to hit and then your opponent rolls to save kind of game. But with the addition of being able to use your opponents fatigue to gain benefits and the battle boards it is a unique game and I, and the Little One, really like it.
Note: I have played six games with the new version and lost five.
/ I hope that was of some interest, below two bonus parts one about music and the other some old Saga battle shots!
Bonus 1: Old Battle Shots 6mm in Action
Bonus 2: Music for you musings
In the original postings we included some recommended music whilst painting your warbands – so here are a few oldies and a few new ones
Amon Amarth starting with their Twilight of the Thunder God (that incidentially would be a fantastic title for a set of wargame rules in the Age of Vikings) followed by At Dawn’s First Light and Pursuit of Vikings – it does not get much more Viking melodic death metal than this. This is perhaps not everyone’s cup of, sorry I meant horn of mead!
If that was too heavy for you do not despair there are some equally good options (youtube is full of this kind of things – should get your warbands done in an afternoon or give you plenty of inspiration to crush your opponents on the wargames table).
Some time ago I was writing a few blog entries about doing Gaslands in 6mm and then it went quiet – we actually have played a fair few games and really enjoy it.
Anyway a little bit of summary of where we are at with this:
Games we have played on our Toxic Track
Using Dropzone commander terrain
Further ideas – Snowmobiles and Zombies
As I have said before I am not in a position to have a permanent set-up so prefer to do some of the games I play on smaller surfaces (say a maximum of 3 by 4 feet), so games like X-wing or Saga are great straight from the box. Another way to achieve this is to convert a bigger scale game (e.g.28mm) from inches to centimeters (1″ becomes 1 cm) or by using half inches (1″ becomes 1/2″ or 1.27cm – not that difficult if you make special measuring sticks – a one time investment in time) – and using smaller scales for the miniatures. I did this for the Dan Mersey series of rules (e.g. here and here) and for Too Fat Lardies Sharp Practice (e.g. here) and it does work. Yes it is a little bit more fiddly.
My original thoughts on doing Gaslands in 6mm – well actually more than thoughts – can be found summarised in a blog post I wrote earlier (Here). After this I got myself some 50% movement templates that I bought from Bendyboards (link here, contact Lee and ask him for 50% if this is of interest) that produces the official Gaslands templates. This in effect means that a 2 by 2 foot board equates to a 4 by 4 in full scale.
If you want a good overview of the game, I think this review (link here) is a good summary and worth reading instead of me repeating something similar in content but less enjoyable and thorough. I agree with the sentiment of this review.
TERRAIN FOR PLAYING THE GAME
So far we have used the Toxic track I made some time ago to do our games, we played a fair few games just using a car each with front mounted machine gun, but we have now also done some games with 3 to 5 vehicles on each side. I find that it produces different games – the single car race is about outmaneuvering and skill whilst the selection of vehicles tends to lead to a more skirmish fight situation – at least the way the Little One and I are playing. Both version highly enjoyable.
Here is the terrain board again (2 by 2 feet) – we are ready to press the pedals very quickly with 2 minutes of so set-up time.
It has some slimy pits that are best left alone.
Here are a few shots from some of the games we have played.
dropzone commander ruined city tiles
I actually came to the conclusion that the cars I ended up getting were probably closer to 10mm than 6mm scale – instead of 1/285 scale I found them being more like 1/200. 10mm normally is referred to as 1/160. I then remembered the Dropzone commander rules and some cityscape terrain I had seen that looked decent – at least from what I was seeing. I ordered a set of ruined city tiles and buildings for the Dropzone commander game. It is a card board set in 10mm scale and I think this will work brilliantly as it may portray a section of a city where the level of radiation is too high for permanent inhabitation, or otherwise abandoned, and is now being used for Gaslands competitions.
You can find more information about it here. It comes with 20 buildings and mats to cover 6 by 4 feet, so more than plenty for our needs. At £20 (reduced at the time I bought it 3rd April 2018, from £30) for the whole set (including delivery in the UK), hardly any significant outlay even if it is cardboard and we will probably end up knocking down the buildings whilst maneuvering our cars – but I will keep you posted on how this cardboard adventure will progress.
Here are some shots showing how the cars I am using compare in relation to the terrain. I think it is a more than adequate fit and I think this terrain have some potential for a lot of different things.
In addition you can download more buildings for free on the webpage (here), but I think I will stick to these pre-printed ones as I am happy with the amount of terrain I already have in the basic set. I suppose if you use these you could re-sixe them to fit to the scale you are using.
further gasland ideas
I recently completed some Snowmobiles for my Mutant 1984 project, based on a matchbox model (“Snow Hopper”). I found these at a Poundshop for £1 each.
These are in “28mm” and I am planning on using Gaslands for a chase scene with some skiers, snowmobiles and some other snow vehicles, like the one in the picture below from Warlord Games – the Gaz 98 Aerosan (link here, picture from their webpage) and the skiers (link here, picture from their webpage). Still work in progress, so some time away from completion. It is basically a “downhillish” race where a detachment of Pyri Commonwealth Scouts on skis are being spotted by some Borderguards of the Ulvriket Army on Patrol in the occupied Göinge during the cold Winter Year 109.
I also have some 6mm zombies that I need to paint to do the zombie scenario for my “6mm” cars, these are from Microworld Miniatures and I will be using Zombies and Ghouls (link to Microworlds Undead Range, here. Pictures from their Webpage).
In summary we are having fun with these rules!, I hope you are too.
Next time is the 100th Roll a One blog entry.
/All the best, and by the way we had a guest font in this blog post it is called 28 days later and used in Gaslands – you can download it here.
Work is taking more than its fair share of my time at the moment, but it happens to most of us. However, I have had some time to get some things done over the last week or so, this is just a summary of that. As always, I do hope it is of some interest.
Chain of Command – dice, casualty markers and suppression markers
Gaslands – finally a game
Finnish and Sovietic dice
I am currently working on some terrain and markers for winter war Chain of Command. I wanted to have some dedicated Finnish and Sovietic dice so looked around and found a fair few Sovietic options but only one Finnish (very nice ones, sold by Dice of War in Australia, see here). These are not specific ones needed for the game, just the type where the 6 is replaced by a unit or a country symbol and could therefore be used for any game that uses D6s. I wanted to have blue ones for the Finns and Red ones for the Soviets, and thought I could perhaps do some myself. I found some 16mm blank dice on ebay and got myself a few different colours (these are from China so will take a week or two to arrive!, at least if you live in the UK).
I then ordered some labels/stickers from Amazon (13mm).
From Label Planets website (link here) you can get a word template for this label set and buy bigger quantities as well. From this you can design your own labels.
I wanted to have 1 to 5 in the same font as used for the Chain of Command rules. This font is called Vulgar Display of Power (download it here). In addition I wanted the hammer and sickle for the Soviets and the hat emblem that the normal enlisted men had for the Finns, replacing number 6.
Here is are the files with the sheet I made for the Soviets (Russian Dice) and sheet for the Finns (Finnish Dice), these are word files. You can change these to add your own colours and symbols.
I have to admit that I had some problem with the laser printer I was using in aligning the sheet so that it printed out correctly (I wasted three sheets but luckily managed to get two done, which was all I needed)- the final result is not perfect and if you have trouble I can only say I am sorry.
This is how they turned out.
One of the striking things with the Winter War are all the pictures of dead Sovietic soldiers especially in the fighting North of Lake Ladoga. Behind my romanticised view of the war and Finnish bias, I am not immune to the hell those Sovietic soldiers had to go through trapped on those wintery stretches of roads, with inadequate supplies of just about everything. Go to the Wikipedia page and read about the Battle of Suomussalmi (link here) and check the losses on both sides – 50% losses for the Soviets and less than 10% for the Finns.
To create a reminder of this I did a few terrain features with dead Sovietic soldiers (I keep on using this term as the soldiers in the Red army were not only of Russian nationality). They were based on Peter Pig casualty markers (based on anything with a great coat and headswaps to pointy Russian hats and early war helmets).
…and here with some painting, winterization and blood (sorry!).
These are based on the concept of snow flying around as bullets hit the area. I used something called Universal Cooker Hood Filter to do the effect. It is like cotton but much stronger, I attached a part of it with superglue and when dry I dragged it out and trimmed it. I also added a little bit of snow flock carefully on the cloud. I think they do the job well enough.
I have seen explosions markers made out of clump foliage and wanted to make some for the winter war table as it will contrasts nicely with the snowy background, and also have some practical game purpose. So I searched around the net for some ideas and found a few different options.
I made my set of explosion markers by following the recipe by the Terrain Tutor (link here). Always excellent, this time he blew me away again!
I also had a game of Gaslands with my micro cars! (using 50% templates), and it was great, but more on that another time.
/ All the best (yes I know I should be doing GNW!)
I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.
This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year. My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped. I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence. That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.
With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time. The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.
Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.
The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches. In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant. It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above. This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here). A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.
Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it. Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!
Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.
As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences. I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).
On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system. I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us. The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean. I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.
The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.
We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf, Maurice, to mention a few. I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more. I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.
I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.
Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.
Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.
The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this). This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.
I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here). I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.
Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break. It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.
The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi. In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy. Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence. The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave warriors. With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith. The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice. They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path.
Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”
I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.
I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year. Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting. I will not fail these platoons this year. I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here. I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better). I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.
Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)
Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.
I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases. I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here. I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.
Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)
Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.
I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here). I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.
I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).
Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.
This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories). This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here). Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.
You need smaller templates (I went for 50%) if you do Gaslands in 6mm – this does not, in any sense of the word, mean you need to do it in less style!
Contact Lee at http://www.bendyboards.co.uk and he may do you a set or 4! Lee is the one who makes the official ones and is where I was sent when I asked Mike at Gaslands if he planned to do any smaller templates than the official ones.
In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.
I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.
Some thanks and then I will let you go
I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.
If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show. If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there. The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.
Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it. At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up. Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.
I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.
Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done! Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!
Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally. I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.
Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby! Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year. Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it. The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry! Here is a link to the video on YouTube.
Following from the last post I have now received the 6mm post apocalyptic stuff I talked about last time, painted a lot of it already (4 “factions”), and I also had a trial game of the Road Wolf Rules with the little one (see more here for a background to this diversion).
I found a few compatibility issues between and within the ranges I used, but I will write about this in a future posting.
Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron Set and Bikes from Microworld Games
This is the first set I painted and this will be two factions – one called the “Metalheads” consisting of metal loving petrol heads with fine combat cars (from Irregular Miniatures) and the other being the “Bikers” (made from Bikes from Microworld apart from two from the Irregular Miniatures Mad Ron set). They work really well together. I have another set of combat cars I will paint up a little more randomly with colour scheme to represent the more Punkish gang, but that is yet to come!.
This is versions of the Bushmaster and a Truck from Heroics & Ros with an interceptor vehicle from Microworld games (this is the one of their new vehicles). This is some kind of Police force still trying to retain law and order or something like that!
These are the more stylish bad bunch driving around in heavy limos (Onslaught Miniatures – order through Vanguard) and some more mobile off-roadish cars to support the main body (from the new Microworld Range). I also include a Bush Master to the column – stowage based on some offcuts and piece from Perfect Six (link here). They are know to offer protection to the various settlement in the wasteland and their Leader is know as Don Key Le Ono.
Tryin Out Road Wolf
As for the Road Wolf Rules, I and the Little One had a go at it (we actually had two games) and we really enjoyed it. We played hunter and hunted scenario and as I said before the cars only do relative moves and the last move every round is done by the road, whereby obstacles that are randomly generated and appears at one end are moved down the board. These obstacles are done as cards, but instead we made bases to represent wrecks, debris, tunnel, oil spills, etc. We had a good time and these rules are really fun and you can download them and all the markers you need here (thanks Sean Patten for these!). The rules works perfectly at this scale and remember the board is 40cm by 20cm at 6mm scale – proper travel sized road battle. We just used a 2cm movement stick and it worked. Yes the bases are bulky and could be improved, but we really had a blast with it as it is. Here as some pictures from one of the games (I had only painted the Metalheads and Bikes at this stage) with the Little One and we got a thumbs up in the end – all is good.
A Meeples and Miniatures Jingle
Stop reading here if,
…you are not more than familiar with the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast as most of what follows will not make sense.
…you have a normal sense of humour as this is verging on the slippery iceberg of nonsense.
Remember that You were warned!
You may be aware I am a fan of the Miniature and Meeples podcast (more here), it has been playing in the background of many of my hobby sessions and le(a)d me astray on strange purchases over the last few years. They are also all-round nice blokes.
I found myself sitting on the train the other day – one of those delayed ones, a seriously delayed one. My iPad battery was flat and my phone had a battery percentage that would not even pass as a weak lager. I did something as novel as flipped through a free magazine and my middle-aged rage seemed to wake up by the reflection on the earliness of all this Christmassy stuff. I am a great fan of Christmas when it is Christmas! But I need to hold that thought for a moment.
Next too me sat three young university students, wonderfully enthusiastic and discussing some assignment in creative writing they had, which was to write some short advertising text for something that meant something to them. I looked out of the window and felt Creactive and got my Laptop up and asked them if I could join in, then I wrote this – a seasonal jingle for the Meeples and Miniatures Fabulous Four (being the Three Wise men and the Guru!), with some hints to some other associated companies, people and other related stuff. Merry Meepleness to you all! I got so into it that it actually cheered me up and when I finally looked up from the screen the students had fallen fast asleep!
Three Wise Meeps
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away three of the wisest of the Meeps were on yet another exciting Geek Tour. The tour was in fact a search mission, loosely based on a linear scenario thread called “Finding Guru” from the book by the Rogue Merchant of recycled shampoo bottles. They had been given their mission by a multi-headed, and to be perfectly honest too fat, lardish bloke on the veranda of the St. Albanjo Inn. The Albanjo was an excellent inn and did the best tasting Mead, Cyder and Ale in the Meeplands and the view from its veranda was simply breathtaking. They also served culinary delights from far afield and the menu included dishes from the exotic lands of Dahlia. Two of the most famous dishes were the phenomenal banana oil infused Imaginuts from Mahradur and the Pointless Pancakes from the Mountainous Island of Lankasri. The innkeeper was allegedly called Henri but no one was sure, as they never had seen him, as he liked to hide.
One of the Lardish man’s heads had offered them a good basic remuneration for their services whilst some of the other heads offered stretch goals if they did better than expected. The mission was simple: find Guru Luff (Hail Guru Luff!) who had left his Temple of Restrain – also called the Luffschuck on Meeplestrasse 52B. Why the Guru (Hail Guru Luff!) had gone was long forgotten. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for many, many episodes, over the seasons the reasons passed out of all knowledge. There were whispers, in places few mortal beings dared to go, that he (Hail Guru Luff!) was seeking penitence for the secret little affair known as the Dungeon Saga Excess. There were also other rumours of him (Hail Guru Luff!) getting involved in the wrong way with the crime family Don Key Le Ono, who were heading the Thieves Guild in the City of Dilution. They had to search deep, very deep, to find him.
The Lardish man gave them the following advice – Trust no-one!, stay alert!, keep your dice handy! Do not roll ones!. They could see something emotional in his many eyes and this was game-mechanically-represented by a few shock markers being placed next to him.
Their journey since then had been eventful and they had even managed to move more than six inches (before Gerry had a go) through the 7th continent. They had travelled through the seemingly never-ending Desert of Gaming Dilution (where death had tried to hook them up for a game of combat chess), avoided the temptation of sausages, survived the many things that falls from shelves during firestorms, being attacked by the dreaded balls, outfoxed the Desert Fox, withstood an imperial assault, endured lengthy Open Combat sessions, repelled an attack from Mars although it was commonly believed that all had gone quiet on the Martian front, survived a night at the Mansion of Madness, and suffered the relentless chase of the mighty Barbarian.
A butterfly landed on his stretched out hand and he could see a myriad of colours, patterns and shapes on its wings. He was known as the undisputed, or at least as one of the many, Welsh Wizard(s) and was the most industrious of the Meeps and with his magic could control shelves to his advantage and summon big boxes of stuff that appeared from nowhere. He was known from the Epic Sagas and had recently assembled five fantastic armies to do his bidding and had a not-so-secret-project-anymore to conquer this fantasy world. Tiredness had been a problem for weeks, but this very morning he had realised that he had forgotten to deactivate three fatigue markers he had been carrying in his backpack all this time. The markers had been thrown away and now he felt as fresh and reborn as that fashionable Wizard from the commercials who had changed his clothes line of robes from greyish to nice glowing whites! Oh Lord, that jingle was still ringing in his ears!
The most sensible of the Meeps, the Troubadour was riding on one of the Godfather’s unpainted Norman horses in front of the others. He carefully swallowed the last pieces of a cake he had snatched from a master baker in Linnius – it was delicious indeed. He picked up his lute from the saddle bag and started to play a nice little melody. The lute was a precision instrument and dimensionally printed thrice on a flat G bed – it did sound very nice although the Wizard was still sceptical to the tonal quality of something created with mere technology and not by pure welsh magic.
The Troubadour suddenly burst into his best tune “I aint been Dunked yet Mama, and by the Way here are the dates for the Herewards Wargames Show this year”, an allegorical song about the adventures of a Digestive Biscuit and its fear of being dunked, based on the true story of a young spearman. The lyrics had been revised many times following heated discussions with the Wizard and a Veteran Cookie who had known the spearman.
“I aint been dunked yet Mama, neither in Coffee nor in Tea, I aint been dunked yet Mama, my outer layers are still as hard as they can be!, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the blinds of the dunkers is getting pretty near, I aint been dunked yet Mama, I wish I was a Big Man not a boy with this fear…..”
The last of the Meeps was perhaps the foremost of them all and he had been the longest serving disciple of the Great Guru (Hail Guru Luff!). He sat in concentration and pushed his hand forward and flicked his hand to the right and pushed it forward again, he repeated he movement again and again – Never was he going to fail in opening a door again!. He was too tall to be a dwarven warrior and had instead decided to become an Imperial Storm Trooper. However his dream was short-lived as he was successful in completing his marksmanship course and consequently thrown out.
Since then he had tried to spread the word of Wargaming to the world. In the beginning it was not easy and he had been lonely and he had to whisper his messages. But he slowly acquired companions along the way to help him on his quest and the number of followers grew. Now he had a strong following and did not need to whisper anymore, he could now speak up and stand proud. It was full on charge from here on and forward! He was now the Godfather of all things Meeply and Small!
“I aint been dunked yet Mama, the beverage has not sucked the air out of me, I aint been dunked yet Mama, the more….. “
Sometimes the work-life balance does not swing favourably in terms of time left to do hobby related activities. This week, and I suspect the next week, will be one of those times.
The little time I did have this week was spent progressing on the Rats for Dreadball and they are now ready for some detailing. When they are done it will give a full Season One painted set-up with 4 teams (including the a full complement of MVPs). Not great paint jobs but far better than the base grey colour of the plastic and I managed to do it in about 3 weeks of limited hobby time. The fact that the Little One is into it as well makes it more motivational to crack on with.
The Little One and I had a few good games of Dreadball using two human teams to get to grips of the rules – and we really like it. I really recommend the series of videos by Andy2D6 on YouTube, the first one “How To Play DreadBall – Part One: The Board” can be found here.
The following are a few shots from the games we played. The Little ones blue guys was a bonus we got when we bought another base set of eBay – to add a few more Season 2 teams cheaply. As per usual he rolled high and I rolled low, his Jacks (all-rounders) were as good slammers as my Guards (heavy hitters) and his ability to use the Strikers was very inspirational. Nevertheless after a few games we got a nice flow and we really enjoy playing it (did I say we like it?).
Since I prefer my hat Tricorne I have been looking forward to the latest version of the Command and Colors rules (e.g. Memoirs 44 and Command and Colors Ancients) called Tricorne Command and Colors – The American Revolution. I got my copy from Boardgameguru (see here) and I think that is the best deal currently on the net (or at least that I found browsing around). I have to admit that I felt that the price was a little bit steep but I had already made my mind up and I suspect the first print run will sell out fast and then it will cost even more to get hold of a copy later.
The rules booklet is downloadable here. The following scenarios are covered:
The following units are included (as the classical wooden blocks) to play the scenarios and I am tempted to do something with it in 6mm – at some point in the future. Baccus make all the miniatures needed (link to their AWI range here) and I think it would look absolutely fantastic.
/ I hope it will be like a Carlsberg – Worth waiting for! Incidentally I am also waiting for some magnets I have ordered to push on with the Rommel bases (see previous post here). Have a good week!